Up to 17,000 People have signed an online petition challenging the allocation of 10 billion Shillings to members of parliament, to allegedly fight the spread of Coronavirus Disease-COVID-19.
The petition, initiated by former minister Sarah Kiyingi, said that whereas she does not doubt the important role that MPs can play in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, she believes strongly that the allocation is misplaced. The petition is addressed to the President, the Speaker of Parliament, and the Prime Minister.
The petition has so far received 17,000 out of the 25,000 required signatures. She says, in the petition that given the lockdown, MPs are unlikely to be effective mobilizers since many are not in their constituencies and their targeted constituents cannot be reached easily.
Kiyingi is now proposing that the money should instead go to the National COVID-19 Taskforce and the Ministry of Health as the lead agency in the fight against COVID-19.
“The Petitioners are also of the view, that since there is a National COVID-19 Task Force in place, whose Frontline Ministry was allocated only 104 billion Shillings, instead of 404 billion shillings which they had requested, that money should go to the Task Force, and not to MPs,” Kiyingi says.
She added that many companies and individuals have responded to the President’ s appeal for support, and the Parliament of Uganda, should not be seen to run a parallel system to what the President instituted.
Hundreds of petitioners have also expressed their disappointment with the MPs move and called for a review of the 10 billion Shillings. Some have suggested that this money can go to persons with special needs who need support while others have suggested that Health workers who are the first line of defence should be supported with protective gear.
Others have urged the MPs to emulate their counterparts in the region, who have instead forfeited their emoluments to support their countries to beat the pandemic.
“Members of Parliament in neighbouring countries are contributing a percentage of their emoluments towards COVID-19 and Ugandan MPs are not ashamed to take billions of tax payers’ money to enrich themselves in the guise of using it to fight COVID-19.” One of the petitioners said.